As winter approaches the inevitable questions regarding solar power’s efficacy during the cold months becomes prevalent once more when businesses consider whether or not to turn to solar to help offset their electricity costs. “there’s less available sunlight in the winter, will my panels still work? Will they work with snow? Will my roof be safe if it snows AND there is snow on the panels? The short answer is Yes to all of the above.
There is no denying the Sun is stronger in some parts of the country as opposed to more northerly locations. Warmer areas will require less panels to generate the same amount of electricity as compared to the solar arrays above the snow belt. However, this in no way means an array in a colder state will not be effective for electricity generation and in lowering the monthly costs for the business owner. There are examples to prove it has been adopted successfully at all levels.
Madison, Wisconsin has collaborated with MGE to create the Two Creeks 150MW solar project. It is comprised of 500,000 solar panels across 800 acres and will power 33,000 homes. The project is so successful that MGE is also a key player in the 300MW Badger Hollow solar farm in Iowa county, Wisconsin. Badger Hollow solar farm will sit on 5.5 miles, contain 1 million solar panels and power 77,000 homes.
The Three Rivers Solar Farm will be located in Hancock county, Maine and will produce 100MW of energy to power homes in Maine and New England. The facility is scheduled to go online in 2023.
The state of Massachusetts has developed a very mature solar program for both businesses and residential customers. Due to the 118,273 installations, 18.52% of all Massachusetts’ electricity needs are now produced by solar. Over the next 5 years, Massachusetts is projected to grow solar production by 1,800MW bringing the state’s total electricity usage to just under 30% coming from solar.
New Jersey ranks 7th in the nation for their solar advocacy and program implementation. 3,739MW of solar power have been installed feeding 579,252 homes in NJ. The solar industry employs 5,300 people in NJ and, with an additional 2,284MW of power projected to be installed over the next 5 years, job opportunities are expected to keep growing.
Vermont has launched the Coolidge Solar project, providing 20MW of electricity to homes and businesses. The project contains 82,000 solar panels and sits on just over 38 acres. 22% of Vermont’s electricity needs will be solar generated by 2027. That equates to a 50% growth in production in 5 years.
However, it’s not just the large solar projects that are sustainable in the colder climate. Small businesses and homes have successfully installed arrays which have dramatically lowered their monthly electricity bills. New Jersey has a total of 119,000 installations and most are much smaller than the megawatt endeavors listed above.
Not only is it possible to have a solar project installed in the northeast but there are also significant programs available to make it much easier for the business owner to make the switch.